The definition of feminism, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” Upon reading the definition, I think we can all agree that it seems fairly reasonable.
No person will openly say that they do not support equal rights. It is interesting that many people think feminists are women who believe they are superior to men. Though some feminists do hold this belief, the majority of them do not.
With social media being such an impactful part of our generation, it has become apparent that it has played a crucial part in the development and spread of feminist ideals. Twitter has been one of the biggest platforms for people to express their views on the topic, including many trends such as “Free the Nipple,” a revolutionary movement to end the censorship of women’s breasts.
While some do not see the importance of statements like this, they stem from the beginning of the journey toward equality, which was at an all-time high in the 1960s.
A new-age version of women who mirror similar movements of those of the 1960s have emerged today. Women take part in “Free the Nipple” and choose to show their dedication to the cause by walking the streets of some major cities in America without the binding of bras.
Many feminists want to address a sense of double standards in men and women. While many social norms allow men to dress freely and express their sexuality openly and proudly, women are not regarded in the same light. It seems society encourages women to live more of a modest life.
Many argue that oversexualizing women leads to some of the inequality they face. While it is completely acceptable to publish a magazine with Brad Pitt shirtless, calling him “man candy,” the same magazine could condemn Rihanna for an outfit that is “too revealing” on the red carpet.
This perspective — that both men and women do not have the freedom to dress in what they desire — is unbalanced.
It is unfortunate that many band against feminists, calling them rash, controlling, unrealistic or simply angry. And in doing so it seems many times feminist ideals get put on the back burner, although the basis for equality among the sexes is completely justifiable. It is a tale as old as time. Women have always been seen as inferior in many cultures, and they have been treated as lesser citizens, much like minorities. Having a gathering of people, not just women, to express the disdain of unequal treatment should not be seen as a negative. There are bad seeds in all groups. Those few “feminists” who preach superiority of the female sex should not be a reflection of true feminist ideas.
Recently, there has been the development of a group of people on social media that wishes to work against or satire feminists; these people are referred to as meninists. There has been a massive following of these meninist accounts, as well as many other that have similar postings. Many tweets and posts have been made spiting women who wish to advance feminism and attain equality of the sexes.
The original account has been removed from Twitter multiple times, most likely due to the repeated number of times it was reported or blocked. The newest account, which also advertises apparel, has 1.6 million followers. This meninist account has been known to make fun of feminists for their passion or “outrageous” and “unattainable” wants.
Many of the comments have been seen as highly offensive or insensitive to controversial subjects. While the meninists have a large following of both men and women, many are unaware of the group’s origin.
According to feminist.com, the meninist movement was actually in support of women’s rights. The website states, “Meninist is a global organization of men that believe in and support the feminist principles of women’s political, social and economic equality. The following represents the platform we believe in.”
It is very interesting that 15 years ago, feminism was moving in the complete opposite direction. However, it has only taken two people, identified by the usernames @jewcup and @helloimivan on Twitter, to take a positive movement and completely tarnish its foundation, making a profit while doing so.
While millennials have taken many things into their own hands as they see fit, it is important to know what one actually supports before self-proclaiming. I advise you to steer clear of ignorant trends such as these and invest in the true foundation of feminism. Show respect for those who only wish to attain equality for all, and leave behind the poor presumptions you may have of the stereotypical “man-hating” feminist.
Autumn Parham studies journalism. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.